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The Big Payoff

November 8, 2010

Today is more about bragging than cooking. After being stuck in the house for almost a week with a cold, and after waiting since spring for my membership to activate, I was finally able to go out to the local community-supported organic farm to pick up my first share. Exciting! I’d missed a fabulous party the night before due to a hacking cough. But nobody cares if you cough a little outdoors. So I asked my mom to meet me after church, and we headed out to pick up the produce.

Here’s the skinny, if you’re not up on this… For a relatively reasonable price, you invest in the running of the farm. Your payoff, your “dividend,” is in produce during the growing season. And you also chip in some time tending the crops and volunteering where you can. I think it’s a fair deal.  And you have the chance to support local business, encourage local growing, and be a part of a community. Oh, and the fabulous, fresh organic vegetables are a huge bonus, too.

I have a half share, so I go every other week. That’s more than enough. I picked up shares of 12 different types of vegetables, and that’s plenty to stock my own fridge and freezer for a couple of weeks.  I got mizuna, which I’d never heard of by name before. Now, it’ll be a tasty part of my salads. And I’d heard of chard, but I’d never bought it. Now, I’m becoming an expert on what to do with rainbow chard, as well.

When I got home, I washed everything, bagged it, and froze half of the kale, chard and mustard greens. I froze half of the eggplant, as well. The eggplant gives me happy images of toasty, impromptu eggplant sammiches on lazy Saturday afternoons. And it’s so tender! The ones at the store are tough, and you need a plan to work with them. With this one, from the farm, even the skin feels tender.

I am a very happy girl.

After all that, and a week of floating in a Nyquil-induced haze on the sofa, I was pretty worn out. I thought about skipping dinner, but the new ingredients were too tempting. So I sauteed some of the mustard greens with button mushrooms, garlic, and scallions, and had those with some leftover mashed potatoes, and topped it all with feta. No complaints here. Oh, and I still had just enough room for the very last bit of the butter pecan ice cream and a few ginger snaps.

Life is good, y’all.